Diversity: Now You’ve Got it, How do you Effectively Leverage it?
There are still conflicts that interfere with the ability of people to work together, people seem to be congregating by demographic group, and there is a sense that people are walking on eggshells around each other. There are still people who say that their skills and talents are not appreciated and that they have more to contribute to the help the organization be more successful.
All the work you have done has made your organization a better place to work, but your efforts cannot stop there. Now that you have diversity in your organization, your task is to create an environment where people can do their best work and be more successful. This means engaging your organization in Diversity Dialogues that will promote productive communication, build trust, and encourage people to ask for help, share resources and listen to each other.
You might say, ‘Haven’t we done enough? What is so hard about talking with each other?’
Yet when it comes to talking across difference, this can be extremely challenging. Many people in these situations spend more time countering what other people say rather than try to understand why another person sees things in a different way or may solve problems in a different way. Most have not learned how to listen with empathy from another perspective, and how to speak so they will be heard–which is what Diversity Dialogues are all about.
Beginning a dialogue process is more than just having people in a room discussing a controversial topic. The purpose of a real Diversity Dialogue process is to help people who are different from each other in any dimension of diversity discover commonalities while discussing their different experiences. When people discover what they have in common with each other, they have a basis to work together and they are more able to appreciate their differences, learn from each other and are more willing to work together toward common goals. This benefits the organization, the team, and each individual, and can contribute to an increase in performance, productivity and profit.
Newsflash: Stress Management
I recently presented a tele-seminar on stress management to several hundred employees and managers from various corporations and government agencies. While the seminar was very well received, there were still a couple of people in the audience who wanted a ‘quick fix’ to their stress management woes and those of their employees working over 60 hours a week.
Unfortunately, there is no magic word, pill or seminar that will permanently undo stress or create a life/work balance. There have been no new major breakthrough surgical procedures that erase stress.
In order to handle your stress and create comfortable life/work balance you have to change your behavior. That means you have to be willing to assess your life, how you live it, and who and what creates stress in it. You’ll have to fully stop the runaway train you are currently on and start moving in the opposite direction. Taking a single stress management course can serve as a pivotal point to turning you around, but you’ll still need to fuel your own change in behavior. There are no free rides, unfortunately, when it comes to stress management. The answer lies within you.
So before you sign up for a stress management course, or sign up your employees for the same, do a ‘stress management’ readiness check. Are you really committed to making a change in your life, and to putting in the time and effort that will be required to put stress management strategies into practice? We will be addressing this issue more in later newsletters.